Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Dabney Carr, 17 January 1810

To Dabney Carr

Monticello Jan. 17. 10

Dear Sir

I wrote some time ago to mr Barlow to ask the favor of him to lend me an instrument called a Dynamometer, and took the liberty of saying you were to be in Washington shortly and would be so kind as to bring it. it is in a box about the size of that of a surveying compas. will you be so good as to call on him, & take charge of it if he can spare it to me. Your’s affectionately

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “D. Carr esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

Dabney Carr (1773–1837), the youngest son of TJ’s sister Martha and his close friend Dabney Carr (1743–73), spent much of his early life at Monticello. Following his father’s premature death TJ served as his surrogate father and oversaw his education. Carr attended the grammar school at Hampden-Sydney College, 1786–87, and the college itself, 1787–89, before entering Matthew Maury’s boarding school in Albemarle County in 1790 to perfect his knowledge of Greek and French. When he began his legal training in 1793, TJ gave Carr free access to his library and suggestions on what to read. He was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1796 and served as commonwealth’s attorney of Albemarle County, 1801–11. Carr served briefly on the General Court of Virginia and in 1812 became chancellor of the new Superior Court of Chancery for the Winchester District. He was elevated in 1824 to the Court of Appeals, Virginia’s highest court, and served on it until his death. In 1825 Carr declined the law professorship at the University of Virginia (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; DVB description begins John T. Kneebone and others, eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 1998– , 3 vols. description ends ; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892– description ends , 1st ser., 15 [1906]: 119; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 9:519–20, 16:88–9, 24:578, 25:544; TJ to Carr, 3, 16 Apr. 1825; Carr to TJ, 30 Apr. 1825; Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser, 10 Jan. 1837).

Index Entries

  • Carr, Dabney (1773–1837) (TJ’s nephew); and dynamometers search
  • Carr, Dabney (1773–1837) (TJ’s nephew); identified search
  • Carr, Dabney (1773–1837) (TJ’s nephew); letters to search
  • compass (magnetic); surveying search
  • dynamometers; TJ tries to obtain search
  • surveying; compass for search
  • tools; compass, surveying search
  • Virginia, University of (Charlottesville); professorships at search